On Lying: Street harassment is too high a price for “being ourselves.”
Alok Vaid-Menon

What I Wanted To Wear/ What I Actually Wore

As a Black Trans Woman, I believe safety is an illusion, and looking at these photos and remembering how I couldn’t walk out of my house with that red lipstick on, I am convinced. In the quest for safety I began to oppress myself. I became the person to qualify my womanhood based on how well I could pass or get through a situation unscathed. Living under the pressures of society has made it nearly impossible for me to be unaware of the ways I show up in any given situation. It’s difficult to be in public because I have not yet learned how to quiet the voice inside that is wondering if people are reading me as a trans person, which alone is not an issue but it calls my safety into question, and that is violence. My intersections create a perfect target on my back. Being aware of this is the reason I delude myself into thinking that I will be safer certain ways over others. It honestly isn’t the case, as a Black person, a Woman, a Trans person I know that no matter what I do, my body will be under scrutiny and susceptible to violence. I suppose what I wanted to wear on this day, and every other day is a shield. Instead I changed to a cute pink lipstick and told myself that it was one.

**Aaryn uses the pronouns: She/Her **

Feeling deep ambivalence about how we dress is something the trans and gender non-conforming communities experience acutely, but it’s not just about us. We’d love to hear from everybody about how we navigate self presentation each day.

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